"It felt pretty good off the bat," Knox said. "I thought it was going to go pretty far. I didn't know about going in the seats, but it felt pretty good."
Suburban One American/Continental seized the momentum from Chester County, and Wall noticed a change: His players relaxed. Knox and Co. didn't look back, cruising to a 10-5 win in the Carpenter Cup semifinals.
Wall's team will play for the championship on Monday at 10 a.m. against Burlington County, which beat Lehigh Valley, 5-3, Sunday.
In addition to Knox, Chris Hens (Hatboro-Horsham), Tyler Kirkpatrick (Methacton), Grant Opalisky (Hatboro-Horsham), Eddie Posavec (North Penn), and Casey Saverio (Hatboro-Horsham) drove in runs for American/Continental.
"We started out a little slow, and I think that big spark from Knox really got us going," said Wall, who coaches Upper Dublin High. "It just takes one big hit to get the bats hot."
In the second matchup Sunday, Burlington County quieted the Lehigh Valley bats to avenge its loss in the 2011 Carpenter Cup title game.
Kevin Boswick (Shawnee), Greg Santora (Seneca), and Kevin Milley (Lenape) allowed a combined one run on two hits in 72/3 innings, and Colin Perro (Cherokee) held on for the save.
Lehigh Valley starter Zach Sheranko (Pocono Mountain East) was not nearly as efficient. After he surrendered a leadoff single to Brian Lawler (Shawnee), Sheranko walked three consecutive batters, giving Burlington County the early lead. Then Jordan Glover (Cherokee) came to the plate.
"I was looking first-pitch fastball," Glover said, "and that's exactly what I got."
Glover pounded the ball to right-center for a three-run triple, giving Burlington County the cushion it would need, though in the seventh inning the lead didn't look so secure.
At the beginning of the inning, Milley gave up a single and walked two batters, loading the bases for Lehigh Valley. But Milley escaped after giving up just one run. He induced a 6-4-3 twin killing off the bat of Chris Robasco (Parkland). Then he struck out Matt Bonshak (Whitehall). Inning over. Minimal damage.
"My legs were like Jell-O up there," Milley said. ". . . It was tough to find the strike zone. After those walks, it was definitely difficult to focus. You've got to get through it somehow."
Burlington County ran into another jam in the ninth. Among the first four batters he faced in the inning, Perro allowed a walk and two hits, and Burlington County's lead shrank to three.
But Perro settled down. A run scored on a fielder's choice before he induced a groundout, and the game was over. Welcome to the championship game.
"I can't wait," Milley said. "Just to come back to this field is half the excitement, and hopefully we'll pull it out."
Sub. One A/C 100 302 130 - 10 12 2
Chester Co. 210 001 010 - 5 9 3
WP: Casey O'Donnell. LP: C.J. Martinez. S: Blair Killough. 2B: SO–Chris Hens, Matt Myers, Ryan Clow. CC–Dylan Jenkins, Ryan Yenchick. HR: SO–Robert Knox.
Burlington Co. 040 001 000 - 5 7 1
Lehigh Valley 000 000 102 - 3 4 0
WP: Kevin Boswick. LP: Zach Sheranko. S: Colin Perro. 3B: BC–Jordan Glover
Contact Tyler Jett at 215-854-4550 or firstname.lastname@example.org.